FN Herstal lays off workers amidst fears of declining sales

FN Herstal (Belgium) has laid off fifty workers with more layoffs rumored. RTBF.be reports (translated using Google) …

After the announcement of a fifty departures among contractors, staff representatives believe that a hundred or divestitures are now scheduled, a threat that weigh on so all the workers engaged in duration, often young. However, the NF is characterized by a lopsided pyramid. And the unions have insisted for several years about the need to ensure the renewal of the workforce. Does management have a plan in the medium term?

RTLInfo.be reports rumors (also translated using Google) that FN lost out on a 100 million euro contract to supply arms to Libya …

FN Herstal did not confirm the information released Wednesday by La Libre Belgique that a contract of 100 million euros have been spent by Libya with Russia rather than Belgium.

2010 has not been a good year for FN Herstal. These rumors follow USSOCOM abandoning the SCAR mk. 16 rifle (still denied on FN Herstal’s homepage, despite being confirmed by their US subsidiary FNH-USA).

[ Many thanks to Famas for emailing me the infomation. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Steven

    Guess they have it figured their not getting that Scar 16 contract. I swear the CEO’s crack pipe must be hot to the touch.

  • SpudGun

    I’ve never understood the intricacies of modern capitalism where huge companies can get billions of dollars in contracts but have to sack their most lowly paid workers. I know it has something to do with projected profits, dividends and shareholders, but it seems such a fool’s errand.

    Still, something must be wrong at management level if you can’t make a profit during wartime.

    • Who is we? Belgium is not at war. It makes perfect sense. The expected a large contract and now have nothing for workers to do. So the workers are made to find new jobs.

  • Mike Honcho

    Maybe if they would actually have put those workers on a line making SCAR 17’s for civilian sales they wouldn’t have had to lay people off.

    To have a $3k gun that is bringing $5k on Gunbroker and to NOT produce the hell out of it is ridiculous. They are literally cutting their own throat here.

    FN- Lower the prices on the 16S and 17S. Make more of them. How about some mags for the 17S also? Deployed guys can’t even buy more mags for their issued guns.

    You are failing at basic marketing. You have a product that people WANT. Why do you act like you don’t have a market for these guns?

  • daman

    Maybe they should try lowering the prices. They might get more new buys.

  • Lance

    Not only FNH lost the Mk-16 to SOCOM they lost the IAR competition to H&K which is making big gains here. I dislike FN products except for the M-240 MG but I feel sorry for the workers so much talent wasted and I hope they find work soon elsewhere.

  • Lance

    Im not too happy FNH was trying to sell arms to Libya since Libya is not too much of a friendly country.

  • jdun1911

    I won’t get into a debate but I will said this, Unions destroy companies. If I were running FN I’ll layoff all unions members and replace them with non-union and automated machines.


  • SpudGun

    I don’t know Steve – ‘Who is we?’ ???

    As for Belgium not being at war, well Hiram Maxim never went to war either but he sure made a crap-ton o’ money off the back of conflict. Just as FN should be with the amount of rifles and machine guns it’s supplying to allied forces in Afghanistan.

    FN could make real savings by sacking it’s confused, duplicitous and ineffective PR Department.

    • I agree that FN has a piece of the war-pie in (probably) most conflicts, but big contracts do not happen every day. When a country buys a new weapon system, it provides decades of revenue, when they choose somebody else, you lose out on decades of revenue.

  • Lance

    But you have to admit FN and its rilval H&K are very over priced for rifles. A H&K 416 is nearly $2000 US dollars and so is a FNC rifle around $2500 while you or a Police or a Security angency can buy a M-4 for arond $700 dollars or even SIG 55X rilfe for far less.

  • flo

    @ jdun1911on 30 Sep 2010 at 11:41 am

    I do not mean to argue with your opinion on unions, but based on the example in your link you are probably thinking of American unions.

    On the whole, unions in Belgium are working more with employers than opposing them.

  • Luther

    cut prices in half and double manufacturing rate.

  • drew

    Lance`on 30 Sep 2010 at 3:31 pm link comment
    But you have to admit FN and its rilval H&K are very over priced for rifles. A H&K 416 is nearly $2000 US dollars and so is a FNC rifle around $2500 while you or a Police or a Security angency can buy a M-4 for arond $700 dollars or even SIG 55X rilfe for far less.

    That’s if you can even get an HK 416 at all. Because at HK “we hate you and you suck”

    If they would drop the price of the SCAR down to AR15 levels, not necessarily cheap but in the 1000-1600 range they would sell like hot cakes and beat the pants off of the disappointment that is the ACR.

  • charles222

    Yeah, can’t say I’m really all that mortified about someone not selling weapons to Libya.

  • Rijoenpial


    I am saddened on one hand, yet relieved on the other: in this world economics crisis, having people getting sacked is always sad… I think FN’s PR should be working to sell the SCAR to countries that have their inventory dying of old age, like Portugal, for instance… However, you guessed it, Portugal is also buried in a financial crisis… So, the real problem is to find countries which are economically sound and needing to upgrade or modernise their weapon inventories… I am sure FNH with their secular expertise and experience, know the market like no other… Not having sold weapons to a terrorist nation like Lybia and terrorist-sponsor Khaddafi, is VERY GOOD indeed…I have known these news for months now, but apparently only now they are showing the repercussions on the workforce…

    I am not worried about this, because IF FNH is being managed properly, the manufacture of 75% of the US weapons, as well as the Slovenian purchase of F2000s, plus other business ventures they have all around the world, they will get by fairly well…!

    Now, I think that these layoffs are direct consequence of the debacle regarding the Mk16, yet they still have the Mk17, the EGLM, the M240 and M249 contracts still, so as Steve so well put it, until the contracts end, FNH will earn a lot of money from spare parts and so on and so forth…So, I am not worried abut the company itself, but rather the weak link in any cutbacks: the poor people who find themselves out of a job…

    I hope they will land on their feet and find work somewhere else…


  • F-Colt

    Well… Considering FN also has a large manufactuing facility in Columbia, SC, as well as an office that coordinates with DOD in Virginia, the “Mother Ship” (FN-Herstal) having trouble will inevitably trickle misfortune over here, too.

    The fact that FN’s M-16 contract expired at roughly the same time Colt out-bid the M-240B contract, isn’t helping the stateside economy either. This maneuver managed to land roughly 700 people in the unemployment line. That product was the FN’s bread and butter.

    Colt, a smaller unionized labor force, managed to underbid FN to the point the new M-240B will probably be held together by duct-tape and bubble-gum. The M-240B has been made by FN for decades. (Originally designated the FN MAG-58.) The fact that FN has consistently produced an extremely reliable medium machine gun, only to have the government pass the torch to Colt (who has ~never~ made it before) attempt to produce something of the same quality in the name of saving a few bucks? A soldier’s life vs. a few bucks… Which is more important?

    However, the ‘word on the street’ is that Colt is choking on their first delivery… Not to go into detail, but I will say that it has to deal with ~reliability~ issues… Shocking.

    This is where I say, “Hey! Joe Wilson! You’re a senator for SC… You’re also on the Senate Arms Committee… Can you please just ~act~ like you care about this issue?”

  • Mike Zehroh Sixx

    Serves them right.

    Q: Guess how many semi-auto “civilian” rifles they have sold in Europe ?
    -Hint : It’s a very round number.

    A: 0

    Q: Guess how many semi-auto “civilian” rifles could have sold in Europe ?

    A: F**k lot more than 50 people can manufacture in a year.

    I have here $5000 I could like to give to FN (in exchange for SCAR 17s) but it seem they do not want my money.
    -Strange business model.